mrld may be young, but she doesn’t let it stop her from chasing her dreams
Many of us know the struggle of pursuing our dreams at a young age. We’re told to wait a little longer, gather more know-how and strike when the iron is piping hot. And it’s valid, to an extent, but some people are destined to reach their dreams regardless of age. Enter 18-year-old singer-songwriter Meriel de Jesus, who humbly started with covers and began releasing her own material, formally debuting as mrld in 2019 only at 14 years old. Your Eyes, They Lie, a bittersweet ballad with lyrics that shoot straight through the heart, stands as her debut single. Fast forward to the present, mrld has a monthly average of four million Spotify users tuning in to her songs. But it isn’t always about the fame, numbers or hits, but rather the connections she forges with each sung lyric.
Saccharine, sweet and vulnerable, mrld’s music offers you a specific vision or an emotion so visceral you feel it. It’s in the specific details, whether it’s the small ways we show our love through Just Because or love’s power to send us tossing and turning in If. Her deep voice and gentle instrumentals underscore each picture she paints through her lyrics. Earnest, vulnerable and wholly relatable, mrld cultivates a safe space for many to let their feelings flow and their imaginations run.
A lot has changed since mrld started wearing different hats to get her music out—from songwriting and instrumentals to production. But as fate would have it, her hard work paid off as she signed with O/C Records. She’s gotten professional help here and there now that she isn’t carrying the whole production load anymore. Nonetheless, this also pushes mrld to claim more authority over her work, telling more stories and reaching many people regardless. All these with some support from Spotify’s RADAR Philippines, a program geared towards expanding her horizons.
mrld finds herself on the list again for 2023, joining a new roster of rising Filipino artists breaking barriers in the local music scene. The fact that she’s back on for the second time reminds the singer of how far she’s come. “I'm so grateful because of the trust na binigay ng Spotify to me (trust that Spotify gave to me),” she enthuses in an exclusive with Wonder. “RADAR Philippines is a project that gives me so much opportunity to open up globally and connect with people all over the world.”
So mrld may have listeners from all over our humble archipelago, but she’s managed to touch a whole lot of listeners from Indonesia. “It's unreal to me because out of all the places, it's Indonesia,” she shares. “I'm happy that I get to connect to, of course, people outside of the country I'm based in because not every artist can do that.” Nonetheless, she knows that this is an honor in itself. “I'm very, very thankful.”
Apart from the connections she forges through music, mrld also wants to be known as someone who made it despite starting at such a young age. “That's something I'm going to carry with me until the end of everything,” she declares. “I want people to know and be inspired that you can start despite your age. You can chase your dreams and make them possible!” So if she could go back in time and speak to 14-year-old Meriel, mrld has only one thing to say: “Don’t listen to what other people say and just follow your heart.” At the end of it all, Meriel soldiered on. And by trusting in herself, look where that landed her.
Photography Wilmark Jolindon
Final Art Macky Arquilla
Production Spotify Philippines